Book Review: Greenpeace Captain by Peter Willcox and Ronald Weiss

Greenpeace captain

Greenpeace “defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, and championing responsible solutions for our fragile environment.”

Book Synopsis

In over 30 years as a senior captain for Greenpeace International, Peter Willcox has been in the vanguard of the international environmentalist movement. He has led crews into battle for the good of the planet against whale killers, nuclear testing sites and deep sea drillers. The recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Guardian, Peter has confronted naval warships, including diving in front of a moving destroyer; faced a bombing attack of the iconic Rainbow Warrior, resulting in the murder of a shipmate; and endured imprisonment for peacefully protesting Russian oil drilling in Antarctica along with his crew. This is his story.

My Review

Peter Willcox was brought up in a family where “civil rights was a very big deal.” “Greenpeace Captain” is his compelling memoir of life as a senior captain for Greenpeace International for more than 40 years.
It begins with the sinking of “The Rainbow Warrior” on July 10, 1985 at Marsden Wharf, Auckland, New Zealand, before outlining the subsequent investigations which led to the charging of two French intelligence agents for arson, conspiracy to commit arson, wilful damage, and murder.
There are many inspiring stories throughout the book, including a humanitarian mission to evacuate Rongelap in the Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean.
On 1 March 1954, the islanders witnessed the most powerful thermonuclear weapons test the United States has ever conducted on Bikini Island. “White flakes began to fall on Rongelap, coating the entire atoll and the waters around it with more than an inch of “snow”.”
In 1987, the author was assigned to the ship M/V Sirius, and members of his crew boarded Vulcanus 11 which had been incinerating toxic waste in the North Sea. The emissions included deadly dioxin. Thankfully, the actions of Greenpeace and others led to a ban of all incineration of toxic waste in the North Sea.
Highly recommended.

 

25 Comments »

  1. I bet he’s got a lot to say for his time as senior captain for Greenpeace Intl over a 40 year period, that’s a very impressive career. He’s certainly had some interesting, and quite harrowing, experiences. The mission to evacuate Rongelap and similar are why groups like that, people like Peter, are so vital, selfless and priceless. I hadn’t come across this before but it sounds like a fascinating read – neat review, Brigid! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did a good job on your review!
    The first time I heard of greenpeace I was getting gas in Florida – summer
    1990 – and I met a group of greenpeace folks – super cool
    I wrote a check (yes – an actual check – hahah) for 25$ to support their cause and it was supposed to come with a year of their magazine – or something like that and I got one issue and that was it – lol – so I paid 25$ for one issue – but in reality I am sure it went to their cause and I never really ever saw anyone from greenpeace again –
    Anyhow – Peter and his crew endured a lot as their love for the planet fueled their choices

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is fascinating, Brigid! I’ve always been curious and interested in Greenpeace. In my eyes, Peter Willcox is a real-life superhero. I’m putting his book on my TBR list. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your review!

    Liked by 1 person

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